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Carrier leaves MCHD for private practice, Kassar ‘next dentist up’

“I think his biggest challenge was trying to convince people that they could get top-of-the-line dental service at the health department,” Monongalia County Health Officer Dr. Lee Smith said.

“He was very much up to that challenge.”

Smith’s comments were in regard to the departure of Dr. Dan Carrier DDS as program manager of Monongalia County Health Department Dentistry.

According to information shared during the most recent meeting of the Monongalia County Board of Health, Carrier is entering private practice after purchasing the Dorsey Avenue practice of Dr. Linda Oliver.

According to Smith, Carrier’s 11-year tenure with MCHD transformed the dental program.

“He was instrumental in developing the dental program, which prior to him saw mostly just children. But Dr. Carrier opened that up and expanded services to both adult and pediatric and did both restorative and preventative dentistry,” Smith said. “We feel very fortunate to have had him in our employment. He brought with him a set of skills that were very important to help us grow and become a better organization.”

Smith said that growth includes a staff and equipment on par with any dental office as well as the creation of Smile Express, a 38-foot Winnebago turned mobile dental office that travels to schools across seven counties.

But the show must go on.

Dr. Youseph Kassar DDS, who joined MCHD as a second dentist in summer 2020, has stepped into the role of interim program director for both MCHD Dentistry and Smile Express.

A Morgantown native, Kassar is a graduate of the West Virginia University School of Dentistry. He also is a graduate of Morgantown High School.

And he’s got his work cut out for him.

“They’re backed up,” Smith told the board of health of the dental office. “They’re booked through the end of the year.”

Smith said MCHD will be looking to add a second dentist in early 2022.

Until then, he joked, “It’s next dentist up.”

“I think Dr. Kassar has seamlessly stepped into Dan’s shoes,” Smith said. “We’ll see how long that interim title lasts.”

Established in 1974, MCHD Dentistry is the only comprehensive dental practice in a county health department in West Virginia. It’s a full-service dental office where patients can receive not only biannual dental cleanings and checkups, but also therapeutic procedures such as fillings, dental bridges, ceramic crowns, implant finishing, root canals and simple extractions, plus cosmetic work such as tooth whitening.

The practice accepts several types of payment, including West Virginia Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and private insurance, and offers a sliding-scale fee option.

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